Albemarle Ciderworks Celebrates Four Years of Business
A family-run cidery in Albemarle County is celebrating four years of business. Albemarle Ciderworks works held a two-day anniversary party to kick off another ripe season of apples turned alcohol. They celebrated four years as a hard cider operation with a weekend full of tastings, live music, food, and games.
"This place was my parents' retirement project. My father still lives here - 93 years old," Bill Shelton said.
Shelton and his siblings have gravitated back to their family farm in southern Albemarle County to reinvigorate its fruit with new life.
"Cider making is a lost art but we're bringing it back," Shelton said. "It's very much at the beginning stage where maybe the wine industry was in Virginia 30 or 40 years ago."
The cidery's production has tripled since it started and continues to grow.
"The most striking difference has definitely been just the amount of traffic coming through the door," said Thomas Unsworth, assistant cider maker.
Albemarle Ciderworks grinds, presses, and ferments fresh apples into cider that's now distributed throughout most of the commonwealth.
"The biggest challenge in the cider industry is people have not experienced hard cider. They think of that fresh that you used to buy at the roadside stand which we just call juice," Shelton said.
It's an experience and a business Shelton and his family hope to provide for generations to come.
"This is a family project and the idea is that we'll do it as a family, operate it as a family for years to come," he said.
Albemarle Ciderworks opened in 2009 as the second hard cider operation in Virginia. There are now eight cideries across the commonwealth with four of those based in Albemarle and Nelson counties.
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